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History of technology

February 26, 2010

Can any of you, who were educated in India, China,  Egypt, Turkey, or Japan, etc., tell me what you’ve been taught that you think Westerners wrongly get credit for?

I’ve always assumed everything was pretty much invented in the West, except for gunpowder, paper, and the compass – the inventions Francis Bacon famously referred to in 1620, when he said, “whence have followed innumerable changes, in so much that no empire, no sect, no star seems to have exerted greater power and influence in human affairs than these mechanical discoveries”

But beyond these cliches, almost everything else is credited to the West during the Enlightenment and the Industrial Revolution.

I was surprised to learn, after high school, that Copernicus was NOT the first to discover that the earth revolves around the sun; the Indian astronomer, Aryabhata, did a thousand years earlier.  Steel (including the Bessemer process – unduly credited to England) was invented in China 1,500 years earlier. de Gama was not the first to sail around Cape Horn;  several Muslims and Chinese did it regularly (a Muslim navigator actually guided de Gama throughout the entire voyage).

Can anyone add to this? or debunk anything else?

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Chris permalink
    March 8, 2010 10:23 pm

    I suppose the recently approved new element should be named Aryabhatinum?

    • March 11, 2010 12:57 am

      Haha, yes exactly. But I guess it’s the prerogative of the discoverer.

      If the next Indian that discovers an element doesn’t name it aryabhatinum, I’ll make sure to hassle his ignorant ass.

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